Literature Review

Being overweight is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 25-29.9. Obesity is defined as having a BMI of 30 or greater. About half of women of childbearing age (16 to 44 years) in England are either overweight or obese. The prevalence of obesity in women of this age has increased over time from around 12% in 1993 to over 19% in 2013. (HSE,2013). Since past few decades, obesity has turned out to be a major health concern affecting the health of many people in a significant manner. According to Gore, Brown and West (2003), the research founding’s and several studies have recommended that weight gain during pregnancy among obese and overweight women is both variable and vague, because the findings are mostly comprehensive to the population rather than catering to risk factors among individuals. Fisher, Kim and Morrow (2013) carried out a study in order to find out whether there is still a prevalence of obesity among pregnant women or not. However, the authors found out that there is a high rate of obesity among women of childbearing age. In previous, studies, such as research work carried out by Evenson, Savitz and Huston (2004), it was found that women who show considerable weight gain that leads to obesity before and during pregnancy are probably more prone to face critical deteriorating cardiac and metabolic complexities, higher rates of maternal mortality and morbidity along with poorer fetal and neonatal results. Furthermore, Dereure, Boegner and Bringer (2000) have also stated that women who are already exposed to metabolic or pre-existing cardiac conditions have aggravated symptoms in the course of their pregnancy because of increased metabolic and cardiac demands.
The prevalence of obesity among females of childbearing age is of vital importance because of its several harmful and adverse health consequences that are directly or indirectly linked with it according to the findings of Thornton, Kieffer and Salinas (2006). The adverse health related issues are harmful for both, the unborn baby and mother, once a woman get pregnant, it was identified in the study conducted by Kiel, Dodson and Leet (2007) on the topic relevant to the current study. From a review of several research works, it has been found that obesity among pregnant women is prevalent in areas having low socio-economic status and where there is a lack of health promotional programs and health insurance (Dereure, Boegner & Bringer, 2000; Baeten, Bukusi & Lambe, 2001; Gore, Brown & West, 2003). The presence of this health disparity within the context of a repetitive cycle of risk focuses on the perseverance for hastening the search for solutions for the problem of obesity among pregnant women (Ogden & Carroll, 2010).
There are several repercussions of being obese women during pregnancy. Baeten, Bukusi and Lambe (2001) have discussed that obesity prior to pregnancy can widely be linked with reduced probability of fertility. On the other hand, Flegal, Carroll and Curtin (2010) through their research work found that weight loss of 10% has been identified as sign of improvement among the ability of an obese woman to bear child or conceive. In addition to it, Fisher, Kim and Morrow (2013) have also articulated that during the period of pregnancy, obesity is associated with severe health issues that eventually lead to critical reproductive health consequences and which may also lead to impaired processes in terms of lipid metabolism and glucose. In comparison to the health effects of obese women and non-obese women, it has been identified by Ogden and Carroll (2010) that obese women have more potential to become hyperinsulinemic as compared to the non-obese women.
Provided with the metabolic and physiological transformations that take place during a normal pregnancy, obese woman have more chances of facing gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia and are more likely to develop it in later stages during pregnancy as compared to non-obese women (Baeten, Bukusi & Lambe, 2001). Moreover, the authors also found out that pregnant women’s metabolic profile can also lead to quick foetal growth, for instance, the prevalence of large-for-gestational age which is also identified as >90th percentile of a birth weight for a specified gestational age which is more frequent in overweight and obese women during pregnancy, it can also change other physiological processes and metabolism as well according to Baeten, Bukusi and Lambe (2001).  Furthermore, from a review of several research works, it has been found that the majority of the pregnant women who have gained excessive weight are more exposed to go through complications and health affects right after the postpartum period, which may take a long time to vanish completely (Dereure, Boegner & Bringer, 2000; Evenson, Savitz & Huston, 2004; Kiel, Dodson & Leet, 2007; Flegal, Carroll & Curtin, 2010; Fisher, Kim & Morrow, 2013).
Therefore, this problem has gained importance for the researchers in this regard and find out the issues that are faced by the women in relation to obesity during the period of pregnancy. Ogden and Carroll (2010) have identified that because of less focus on strategies for minimizing the potential risk and to prevent and reduce metabolic and cardiac ramifications and manifestations the women are more likely to go through these challenges. Fisher, Kim and Morrow (2013), from their study, have discussed that although a huge amount of data is available considering the negative impact of obesity and excessive weight gained during pregnancy, little focus has been given to investigate the root cause of this problem and finding a remedy. Moreover, Flegal, Carroll and Curtin (2010) have also stated that less emphasis has been given to develop preventive strategies that can lead to minimize or diminish the risk factors that actually disseminate high foetal and maternal morbidity and mortality. Evenson, Savitz and Huston (2004) have also carried out a research work considering pregnant women, and found that the problem of obesity among women or maternal obesity is considerably linked with the higher risks of children with adverse birth defects, postpartum anaemia, a caesarean section and less frequency of breastfeeding initiation. Flegal, Carroll and Curtin (2010) have discussed that in the postpartum period, the obese women face an extremely difficult time in losing the weight gained during the period of pregnancy, specifically if the weight is gained significantly. Furthermore, it has also been found that in the long term, the consequences associated with obesity during pregnancy are not taken into consideration for the women as compared to with the child. Thornton, Kieffer and Salinas (2006) have discussed that there are several fetal programming research works that have presented a comparison between non-obese and obese pregnancies and have also indicated a higher risk of hypertension, diabetes and the problem of obesity in the new-born of the obese mother.



A qualitative research design serves as the foundation for the understanding of the participants involved. It shares the experiences between the researcher and the participants in a social context. It is a design in which the researcher attempts to generate curiosity through questionnaires. Qualitative research is an investigative research approach. This approach is used to develop an understanding of core reasons, opinions and inspirations. It offers perceptions about the problem addressed or helps develop ideas and hypotheses for potential research. The qualitative research method is used in this paper to systemically collect data and to objectively evaluate it with reference to the past rate of obesity and to test the hypotheses relating to the causes, effects and the trends that may help the present researchers and to provide future recommendations and guidelines.

The qualitative research approach has proven to be providing instantaneous assist to drive a problem-solving conclusion and expends the scientific knowledge of the problem addressed. It also enhances the capabilities of the actors involved, actions being performed and collaborated in obtaining a concise understanding of the given social situation. To analyse that parents are the cause of childhood obesity in United Kingdom the delicate Realist Paradigms approach is used in this paper in the context to debate about the rationality of informative research methods and the need for suitable criteria for assessing qualitative research.

Realist paradigm approach is provides a vital understanding to the overall viewpoint from which the study is designed and it is carried out. It is thus providing identifications of the fundamental basis that is used to construct a scientific investigation. Realist paradigm attempts to accommodate how meaning is generated from a qualitative data analysis. The realist paradigm constructed and organized data using qualitative data analysis.


The data in this research is collected through questionnaire in the Barking, Havering areas. Eight themes related to the association that parental influence is the cause of childhood obesity has been arisen from this research. These include ethnic background of the participants, the genetic factor, parenting style, daily screen exposure of the children, nutritious and physical activities of the children, the children caregiver’s influence and governmental support.  The surveys, group interviews, observation conducted at schools and day-cares were linked together in order to highlight this problem in depth.




The majority of the parents said that healthy life style choices and habits can be made in a families.



screen exposure and increase in the rate of obesity.



The parents, who are more active, usually encourage their children to be active too.

childhood obesity whereas 5 believed it is not true and only one was not sure about it.



Research has shown that 33 percent of females and 25 percent of males aged between 2 years and 19 years are obese. In fact, most of the research has shown that parents in the United Kingdom are the cause of cases of childhood obesity1. The results indicate that people are concerned with the rampant obesity rate. In the United Kingdom, people are worried that the children who are obese will become lazy and sick adults. When the obese children grow, they will develop health issues like cardiovascular diseases. Additionally, it is clear according to the results of the research that parental influence is directly associated with child obesity in the United Kingdom. The results are the way they are presented because of the different ethnic backgrounds of the parents and the parenting styles that the participating parents employ.   The manner in which parents monitor the diet of their children is evidently alarming. Today, parents are not as concerned about the kind of food that their children put in their mouths. According to the research, it is clear that parents are no longer strict in regards to parenting duties. In fact, parents are mostly unaware of the type of food that their children eat. For that reason, there is a rise in the obesity rate of children and teenagers in the United Kingdom. Additionally, the results show that parents contribute to their children being overweight simply because the same parents agree on neglecting their duties as parents. The parents agree to being responsible for the obesity of the children primarily because they do not watch what their children eat. Comparison of primary and secondary literature in a study conducted by Olson 3 it is clear that there is a distinct relationship between children and their parents on issues of obesity. The research is carried out to help readers understand how parents contribute to their children being overweight. Additionally, the research provides possible solutions to the issue of obesity, including clear guidance on how to implement the measures. According to the study, most parents do not know how to analyse the weight of their children. In fact, the parents have no idea how to gauge the health of their children. The research was concluded in an assertion that if parents were not willing to watch the weight oftheir children accurately, then the same parents were not willing to help their children become healthy and avoid any weight related health issues. Unlike in the study shown above, a compilation made by 4 indicates that families from poor backgrounds like the Mexicans and Bangladeshi living in the UK are at a disadvantage. Unlike Olson who claims that all parents are not concerned, Zilanawala maintains that issues like poverty or cultural background contribute to lack of concern from parents about the health of their children.